Monday, November 15, 2010

Laws of Making 5: True Making is an Act of Faith

Making Monday

The second Law of Living is that True Making is an Act of Faith.

Faith is a tricky word because it is used and abused with impunity. "Have faith," is often short for, "Suck it up and don't complain," or, "Just take my word for it."

I once heard faith defined as, "hope for things which are not seen, which are true."

The qualification, "which are true," gets closer to the faith of the makers. Makers don't operate in ignorance. Which is not to say that makers have perfect knowledge: sometimes we don't know exactly how a process, like firing glazed clay, might turn out. But making, by definition, is about intention and purpose. The faith of the maker is in the process of bringing the unseen into existence.

At the deepest level, faith is the power to set aside fear.

Makers, like everyone else, have plenty of fears at the beginning of a project:
  • What if I can't do it again?
  • What if I'm no good?
  • What if I fail?
  • What if no one likes it?
  • What if someone breaks it?
Unlike everyone else, makers know how to set aside those fears and move forward. It's not that they're immune to fears, but simply that they're not immobilized by them.

Sometimes the fears are realized. But like the old line about getting back up when you fall off a horse, makers don't let set-backs stop them. They know that making, both the process and the product, are worth it.

This is how making is an act of faith.

Image: Bill Longshaw /

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